Of Migratory Warblers and Resident Turtles

Friday, October 25, 2013

I just always find something new around the Garden. Same is true for my own garden, but it’s quite a bit smaller than Fairchild. Nevertheless, last Wednesday I was hunting for mushrooms and lichen to photograph along the mulch path of the Allee (which, by the way, is defined as a walkway lined with trees or shrubs). Instead, I looked up and spotted a turtle. South Florida lakes have a ton of turtles, but it’s not so often I see any box turtles.

Florida box turtle

Terrapene carolina bauri is the Florida box turtle, a subspecies of box turtle endemic to Florida and extreme southern Georgia. It makes sense that I don’t see Florida box turtles near lakes, since they do not usually enter water deep enough to swim in, preferring instead to remain in damp or swampy areas. This seems to be a female based on its yellow to brown eyes; males have red eyes. The Florida box turtle is distinguished by its beautiful yellow stripe patterns. They are protected by law.

Well today, another nice encounter: Our chief operating officer alerted me to a bird that seemed to have been stunned by possibly flying into a window. We went out and I caught it after several very clumsy attempts. It’s a palm warbler Setophaga palmarum (possibly an immature version, based on its dearth of yellow plumage), a migrating bird probably heading to Central or South America, or maybe the Caribbean.

 Palm warbler release

We kept him/her — who I’ve named Corbin since he/she was found near the Corbin Building — in a box to rest for a little while. I later released Corbin outside the Gallery Building, and he flew, weakly, up into its lower branches. So Corbin’s still recovering; his wings seemed intact, and didn’t appear broken or awkward. Good luck, Corbin!

Palm warbler in cannonball tree

blog comments powered by Disqus